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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Ex-James Harden teammate helping Heat prepare for 76ers

Erik Spoelstra looks on

Feb 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on the sideline against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have had to adjust their scouting efforts a bit in light of Joel Embiid’s injury.

Miami’s second-round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, will be without Embiid for at least the start of the series. That means the Heat have to adapt on the fly to a team that will be led more by James Harden. One complicating factor is that Harden did not play much without Embiid since being acquired by the 76ers, making game tape scarce.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team has a secret weapon in the form of former Harden teammate PJ Tucker.

Tucker is turning into a key cog of a lot of really good teams. The Milwaukee Bucks used him to bother Kevin Durant on the way to an NBA title last season, and his defense will likely be needed in this series as well. He’s been around a while and played for five different teams, so he’s widely familiar with the league.

The Heat open their series against the 76ers on Monday. Tucker seems likely to play a significant role for them if this is any indication.

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